Posted by: Michelle Knoll | July 18, 2008

Fighting With a Fight Scene

My novel is becoming a pain.

I’ve reached a point where I have to write a fight scene.  And I’m not good at writing fight scenes.

It wasn’t supposed to be that big of a deal.  The main character doesn’t know this guy; he’s not a major part of the story, and yet here he is, and the main character (the good guy) has got to deal with him.  Well, he wants to deal with him, because of the connection this creep has to another main character.

Here’s the basic scenario:  good guy wants to beat up bad guy because of something bad guy did to his ex-wife, that good guy is now in love with.  Good guy wants to “take him out” so to speak.

But, if he does, will he still be the “good” guy?

And so, my dilemma.

I don’t want the good guy to have an evil side, nor do I want him to develop a “mean streak” this late in the story.  He’s finally coming to grips with his past, and is changing for the better, so he doesn’t need to slip back into a cold, hard-hearted existence.  And his character (oh, boy, what a pun!) doesn’t need to be scarred/flawed by an act of passion this strong.

So I happened to mention my plight to a friend of mine, who helped me way beyond measure.  As a matter of fact, before I write any more of this fight scene, I’m going back to read the emails my friend sent to me, because they contained many jewels of wisdom.

What my friend said was, in all the good stories, the good guy isn’t the one that takes out the bad guy.  The good guy may get right to the point of removing the bad guy from the planet, but — because he is good — he doesn’t go through with it.  Yet, something happens, and the bad guy gets done away with anyway, and typically he ends up doing it to himself.  His past catches up with him, or he steps the wrong way and falls to his death, or his pride causes him to not see the truck bearing down on him as he is spouting off about how he’ll never be caught, or… something like that.

My friend said, “We (the audience) will want the good guy to kill off the bad guy.  But make the good guy better than us.”

Wise words.

So I am going back to figure out just how this little sidebar of a scene in my novel can have a more prominent, yet hidden, role.  That way, he can end up hanging himself in some sort of way, and my good guy can remain good.

See you at the end of the chapter!

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